Name: Keith Selle
Location: Las Vegas
What made you get into photography?
I think it was genetic. My dad used to be an amateur photographer back in Laos. Out of the 7 kids, I seemed to inherit from him. I was always musically gifted. I can’t paint or draw but I love art and music. Photography was my medium for personal expression. I totally fell in love with the whole process of shooting in films, develop it and get it to print. The whole process just fascinated me.
How would you describe your photography style?
I started out as a traditional glamour photographer then stepped away from it because I want to separate myself from them, so I started experimenting with Photoshop and came up with a few unique looks that marked my style as of today. I might change a few things here and there or add something different to it from time to time. So, I really don’t know how to describe my photography style.
Any photographers or artists that you looked up to that helped influence your style?
After I graduated from college, I went straight to Los Angeles to work under the great Playboy/Penthouse photographer, Ken Marcus, and celebrity photographer, Jeff Dunas. They truly inspired me to be who I am today. It wasn’t their work that inspired me. It was their passion, hardworking ethic and success. They inspired me to work harder than the next photographer.
Did you study photography in school or are you self-taught?
I dropped out of the university after one and a half years there from the engineering department. Mainly due to that fact that I hadn’t been in this country not long enough and didn’t really know what I wanted to do or even knew what engineering was all about. I only majored in it because I heard smart students are supposed to get into it. I was a smart student but it was not for me. I decided to get a part time job cooking and went to community college to take a fun class, which happened to be beginning photography at Sacramento City College. I was taking all the photography courses that were being offered at the community college before I found out that I could actually get a Bachelor’s Degree from the 4-year university. That’s when I rushed myself to take all the general educational courses so I can get my Associate in Arts degree before I transferred. I transferred to Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and received my Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Applied Art & Design with an option in photography and digital imagery thereafter. To be honest, I really didn’t learn anything from the university, I learned my basic in photography from Sacramento City College. I only went to the university to get my degree and to get that college experience. I did and I’m the only kid in my family that graduated from college. I’m so fortunate to be living in this country after spending several years in the Thai refugee camp from the age of 5 to almost 10. I didn’t think this was ever possible.
What do you feel is the most challenging thing about starting a photography business?
I was a traditional film photographer. When I graduated from college, film was at the verge of dying out. What a great time right? Now, I have to make the complete transition from film to digital. I wasn’t having it but I finally caved in back in 2001. Believe me, it was a major challenge. It was tougher to make a name for yourself back in the film days. Today, with all the digital cameras and social networking sites, it’s a lot easier to get your work across to people all over the world with a few clicks on your computer, phone or tablet. As most photographers found out, it’s not easy to make a living as a photographer. It seems like everybody got an iPhone, Android or something that has a camera these days so most people don’t think they need photography service but if you are great at what you do then people will hire your services regardless. I’ve been doing this full time for the last 4 years, before that I was working full time and doing photography on the weekends. I’m at a point in my profession that I make a great living doing what I love to do. And I am blessed that all my sleepless nights are finally paying off. Not that I sleep much because I tend to be most creative during late night hours.
What do you love most about being a photographer?
I love everything about being a photographer. I can actually have the power to photograph a woman or man and make them look beautiful, cool and flawless. I like to listen to what they envision and I will try to capture it. I love to travel the world and take photographs. It doesn’t matter where my clients want me to go, I’ll fly anywhere. I get to make my own hours and never answer to anyone.